Jerome Carman 
Member since Apr 21, 2017


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Re: “Cannabis and Carbon

The CO2 converted to plant matter should roughly zero out over a very short time scale because of the short lifecycle of the product. Simplifying a bit, CO2 is converted to plant matter which is then burned and/or discarded and left to decay returning that CO2 back to the atmosphere. This all happens on timescales of less than a year, generally.

The challenge is the energy used to grow, process, and transport marijuana releases additional CO2 above and beyond the roughly net-zero growth/harvest cycle.

One variable that must be considered when weighing the carbon benefits of indoor vs. outdoor is a concept called land use change. This essentially tries to quantify the potential impact of converting land currently being used to provide one service (grow food, provide habitat, etc.) to grow marijuana. The increased crop density and accelerated growth cycles that are attainable with indoor operations may significantly push back on the carbon benefits of using the sun instead of electricity.

Answering the question of whether indoor or outdoor has a lower carbon foot print is nuanced, and requires consideration of variable such as land use change, whether the electricity is generated from renewable sources or not, the origin of fertilizers used, the impact of land management and agricultural strategies, etc. Its not a simple question. But if youre lucky enough to know your farmer, asking questions can go a long way towards a gut check of the potential carbon footprint of the product you are purchasing.

4 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Jerome Carman on 04/21/2017 at 10:02 AM

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